A few years ago I was in the process of encouraging friends and students to take art gear with them everywhere so they could liven up their journals. One of my strategies was the “Vest Pocket Studio,” which is contained in a clear plastic pocket protector. I filled the compartments of a seven-day pill container with watercolors from tubes, added a pen (extra fine point, Pilot V Ball pens are waterfast), a tiny watercolor brush, some 2 x 3 inch pieces of watercolor paper, a folded paper towel and was ready to go! Not pictured here is the super-handy water brush which will fit in neatly and eliminates the need for a separate water container.
Another alternative is to take advantage of the many tiny tins that exist in the world and use them to contain art supplies. The Vermints tin at the top is three inches by two and a quarter and it will hold nine half-pans of watercolor (I haven’t filled these yet), a tiny pencil and brush (the brush’s handle comes off to contain the brush-tip), and a few pieces of carefully cut watercolor paper. In my experience, children love the tiny six-pan tin at the bottom of the picture.
Of course you can rely on the trusty old Windsor and Newton compact travel kit (a messy one seen at the bottom), but I also like Peerless Water Colors, pigment dried on paper, which then allows you to cut it into small sheets and stable them to a “palate” as I did above. I clip these bits of instant color into the back of my journal, then all I need is my water brush.
I put a small sheet of pastry parchment over each sheet so that if I close them when they are still wet they won’t stick together.
The tins for Altoid mints come in several sizes and can accommodate between six and a dozen half-pans and a collapsing brush or a small water-brush (available in art supply stores and catalogs). So save your tins and you’ll have no excuse not to bring some color to your next sketching session.